New Orleans is ready with its warm weather and Cajun culture to greet thousands of the nation’s top corn, soybean, wheat, and sorghum producers. This annual gathering was already big enough, but this year, with the addition of the agricultural equipment industry, it has moved to the next level. Over 8,0000 producers have pre-registered, and the final number of attendees may top 10,000.
Innovation is on display at the massive trade show with dozens of new products and technologies on display, many focused on helping growers do more with less; and given the state of commodity prices, that will include less cost. HAT will have highlights some of this new technology over the next few days. Davie Hollinrake, VP of Marketing with Bayer Crop Science, said the future will see farmers moving from precision farming to decision farming using big data to make better crop decisions on an acre by acre and even a row by row basis.
Secretary of Ag Tom Vilsack will keynote the conference on Friday, where it is expected he will push hard for farmers’ support of the TPP. Farmers, on the other hand, will be pushing the Secretary for strong support of crop insurance.
There are hundreds of workshops and seminars and many are on being advocates for agriculture. A recent study by Bayer Crop Science says 74% of people do not think agriculture is important. Agriculture faces the daunting challenge of changing that statistic. “We have the technology and innovation to meet the food needs of the future. My fear is that we will lose the public trust if we don’t find a way to better advocate for agriculture,” said Hollenrake.
The addition of AEM members is a significant reason that the 2016 Commodity Classic trade show will be the largest in the 20-year history of the event. Several hundred exhibitors have already signed up for space on the 600,000-plus square foot trade show floor—and several AEM members that have exhibited at Commodity Classic in the past have increased their footprint by two or three times.
Commodity Classic Co-Chair Sam Butler, a soybean farmer from Alabama, said virtually everything about the 2016 Commodity Classic is setting new standards. “I really don’t know where to start. Everything from the educational sessions to the Evening of Entertainment to the trade show is bigger and better,” Butler said. “This is also the first time Commodity Classic has been in New Orleans, and that takes the excitement level up a few notches as well.”
As the nation’s largest farmer-led, farmer-focused convention and trade show, Commodity Classic offers a unique experience for farmers that cannot be found anywhere else. All educational sessions, entertainment and experiences at Commodity Classic are selected by a committee made up of farmers. “So you get this view from all different commodities from all levels. And we’re all in the room working together. It’s a great collaboration because we’re not dealing with the politics. We’re dealing with putting on a show that fits who we are and who you are,” stated Wesley Spurlock, Commodity Classic Co-Chair from Texas.
Hundreds of Indiana farmers will be attending Classic, and delegates from the Hoosier State will be helping to set policy on key issues for the National Corn Growers and American Soybean Association. The Indiana Soybean Allience will have an exhibit at the trade show promoting the Purdue Risk Management program.
Coverage of Classic by Hoosier Ag today is made possible by Indiana Corn, the Indiana Soybean Allience, and BASF.